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CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 10:06am
by pdf
From today's CNN.com

http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/ ... ?hpt=hp_c3

Guy who designed it, Neal Saiki, is said to be founder of Zero. I assume that is true, but not familiar with details of Zero.

A couple of quotes:
"The cargo bikes on the market are just horrible to ride, with terrible handling," said Saiki.

"I figure if you really don't want to pedal, you should just buy an electric motorcycle." (it has a pedal sensor)

"The battery is unique in that mechanics can go in and repair and refurbish the individual cells instead of having to replace it entirely." (Um. Not unique.)

Article says it has a belt drive but looks like a front hub. Touts the unusual steering but looks like it is the same as a bakfiet. In fact, it kind of looks like he reinvented the bakfiet.

EDIT: webpage says battery comes with lifetime warranty. Looks like will rebuild battery for 1/2 the replacement cost. That is pretty good. Also, the cells are NOT (EDIT of EDIT: added word NOT. Just a typo from first attempt) soldered in so can be swapped out easily. I'm becoming a little less skeptical. Anyway, battery looks good.

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 12:01pm
by davec
pretty cool
mine can hall 400 lbs :) with the yuba frame
this one has an interesting design though
i remember near the monaco/italy border all the mailman use e-bikes to deliever

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 12:40pm
by cal3thousand
Cool looking design. Looks like the pizza boys will like it more than the mommas. Then again, maybe some adventurous types will put a baby carrier on the front :shock:

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 6:27pm
by teklektik
cal3thousand wrote:Cool looking design. Looks like the pizza boys will like it ...
I doubt it. This is a hype-mobile - the loader area appears to be permanently framed as wide as a milk crate - too small for anything wider (like a stack of large pizza boxes). What's the big advantage over other existing cargo bikes except that they can all manage to get the load down low on side loaders and this thing can only carry 100lbs way up high?

If (real) cargo bikes with 400lb load capacities are pickup trucks, this thing with it's high CG and 1/4 load rating is a mini-hatchback. Two completely different classes of vehicles.
nts-2x4-electric-bike.jpg
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I'm not a big fan of the Boda Boda, but it's an interesting mini-cargo bike. The electric version is $2800 compared to $4800. Throw the standard frame-mounted Yuba 'Bread Basket' on it for $150 and pocket the $1800. Meanwhile, you can get the standard passenger seat option for the back, standard sideloader foot rests, and take you GF out for a spin on the back to spend the leftover bucks - try that with the Zero-mobile... :D
bodaWithBread.png
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Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 7:03pm
by pdf
I own an Xtracycle and while this is the first time I've seen a Boda Boda, I do like the shorter wheel base. The wheel base on the Xtracycle is both its strength and weakness. Great when riding, but a biatch to transport anywhere. If you can't ride it there, you are SOL. Not completely sold but it does have that going for it.

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 7:10pm
by oatnet
teklektik wrote: What's the big advantage over other existing cargo bikes except that they can all manage to get the load down low on side loaders and this thing can only carry 100lbs way up high?

If (real) cargo bikes with 400lb load capacities are pickup trucks, this thing with it's high CG...
Hi Tek!

I would much rather carry a load high over the front wheel, than low over the back wheel. I commuted daily on an xtracycle (first rear x5 in one) with battery and motor weight low in the rear, so I am intimately familiar with the dynamics of that configuration. The entire time I made numerous attempts to fix the handling problems this configuration presented - numb, unresponsive steering and a balky back end - until I discovered that relocating the mass high over the front wheel resolved the issue. Carrying weight high over the front improves handling, carrying weight low over the back unloads the front wheel. I've been evangelizing about front- mounted packs for a few years, and people who've ride them, love them, you may remember posting in this thread about the dynamics of why it works:

http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 00#p521699

-JD

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 04 2013 8:36pm
by teklektik
oatnet wrote:
teklektik wrote: What's the big advantage over other existing cargo bikes except that they can all manage to get the load down low on side loaders and this thing can only carry 100lbs way up high?
Hi Tek!

I would much rather carry a load high over the front wheel, than low over the back wheel. I commuted daily on an xtracycle (first rear x5 in one) with battery and motor weight low in the rear, so I am intimately familiar with the dynamics of that configuration. The entire time I made numerous attempts to fix the handling problems this configuration presented - numb, unresponsive steering and a balky back end - until I discovered that relocating the mass high over the front wheel resolved the issue. Carrying weight high over the front improves handling, carrying weight low over the back unloads the front wheel.
Hey JD!
I knew you were going to post when I wrote that! :D

I ride with motor and a pile of Headways in the rear of my Mundo, but I was careful to arrange the entire battery load forward of the rear axle on the sideloaders. In this configuration the front wheel load isn't lightened and the there is no pendulum of mass hanging out behind the rear contact patch to lever the front end into sloppy understeer ('tail wagging the dog' effect). I essentially use the stretched center of the bike to carry the weight, not the built-in racks that extend way aft of the axle. It's a big SOB of a bike, but it's very responsive and doesn't balk or fight back.

I was originally going to distribute the batteries in 'thick sideloaders' extending full length to the rear of the bike, designed them, bought the materials, then did last minute loading experiments with lead scuba weights. I should have done that first because it killed the design on the spot. The added weight behind the axle destroyed the handling. That exercise led me to rearrange the weight as far forward as possible - as it is now.

I obviously haven't tried this new bike, but it seems to differ from your builds in that the weight is attached to the frame not the forks (good/bad? certainly different and can't be thrown into turns) and the rack sticks out quite a bit in front of the front axle so the weight is not close to the forks as in your front battery builds. This seems to me likely to have an adverse steering effect similar to having weight hanging out behind the rear axle (perhaps reduced a bit because of the steering). So I'm thinking that if they run with the weight rearward on the rack between the axles and don't use the forward part of the rack, things will be okay, but not as good as your steerable battery configuration. Dunno - handling is one of those things that can only be determined by the good old buttometer - not by armchair physics greased with beer....

So - I'm thinking that you should ride my Mundo some time and we should both ride the Zero-mobile :mrgreen:

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 05 2013 5:45am
by dogman dan
I'm buying the carry it up front argument, but not entirely convinced of the need to completely reinvent the steering.

But it's still a damn cool idea. I like the idea of the battery being easily repairable by relatively low skilled technicians. ALL ebike batteries should be getting made this way. Doesn't have to be bolt up, just not permanently glued into one huge block is all I mean.

Ever seen the double dutch bikes? Nice front mounted carry, but it doesn't swing with the forks. It's swinging the weight with the wheel that I found I didn't like about front carrying more than 10 pounds. The double dutch bike also has a very sturdy rear rack that is part of the frame, not a weak bolt on. Most front carry arrangements for bikes ( Like a bag) let the load shift around a lot. So frame mounted carry that doesn't move with the wheel would seem to me to be better.

My longtail suffers from all the handling problems mentioned above. The key thing that makes it's handling ridable enough is that the frame is very stiff, once you have the tail wagging on a bike, it handles a LOT worse. It doesn't have to be longtail for that.

Also, I have noticed that while my longtail handles fairly poor at 5 mph, it does really well at 30 mph. By 30 mph, it loses that tendency to lean too far one way or the other easily. At 20 mph, the speed I typically ride it, it's handling is better than 5 mph, but not as good as at 30.

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 07 2013 11:54pm
by lbz5mc12
Why don't e-bike manufacturers just sell e-bikes that come with a compatible cargo trailer for customers that are looking to haul cargo? I mean duh. Maybe a cargo trailer that also doubles as a kid carrier. It's like they're taking something simple and over-complicating the hell out of it. So instead of pulling a trailer behind the bike, they've got these too long, unbalanced, weird looking cargo bikes. Also, just so I don't hurt some of the more sensitive ES members' feelings, I'm not talking about your creations, I'm talking about big manufacturers selling a product to consumers.

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Sep 08 2013 4:54am
by John in CR
lbz5mc12 wrote:Why don't e-bike manufacturers just sell e-bikes that come with a compatible cargo trailer for customers that are looking to haul cargo? I mean duh. Maybe a cargo trailer that also doubles as a kid carrier. It's like they're taking something simple and over-complicating the hell out of it. So instead of pulling a trailer behind the bike, they've got these too long, unbalanced, weird looking cargo bikes. Also, just so I don't hurt some of the more sensitive ES members' feelings, I'm not talking about your creations, I'm talking about big manufacturers selling a product to consumers.

The same reason you really don't see trailers for motorcycles. It's not safe or convenient, unless you're talking pedal bike speeds, which is only safe on dedicated bike-ways (which doesn't include bike lanes and multi-use pathways).

OTOH the changes made to a bicycle to transform it into an electric cargo bike can make it a safer vehicle overall, and safer at higher speeds to, which makes it more convenient and useful. Preconceptions/misconceptions of what a bicycle must look like to be considered a bike are one of the major roadblocks.

Re: CNN story of e-cargo bike

Posted: Oct 28 2013 2:55am
by sk8norcal